Ultimate Guide to Bringing Your Grandparents to Disney
Walt Disney World Resort has been a family-friendly vacation spot since October 1, 1971 and 48 years later it remains the top destination for families since its opening! Kids love meeting their favorite characters in-person, teens beg their parents to take them on the fastest coasters, and adults love to spend time walking through the parks and sampling the many amazing food and drink offerings the Resort has to offer. It doesn’t matter if your ideal Disney trip means spending every waking moment in a park or if you prefer to explore the resorts and seek out new dining locations, one thing will remain constant for every family: the walking.
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again right now; you’re definitely going to get your daily steps in every day of your trip- which is great…you can ditch the gym for a week if you like and still get your daily dose of activity! When you’re planning a vacation for the entire family and are going to bring the grandparents along, the extra walking suddenly switches from a benefit to a burden. The miles of walking,90 degree temperatures, and high humidity does not equate to an easy time for retirement-aged guests, so is it better to leave the grandparents at home to house-sit?
Of course you should bring them along! Family vacation time is precious, and it’s especially precious when generations can travel together! My advice to any person traveling to Walt Disney World is to make a plan, so if you arm yourself with the information below, you and the grandparents will have a fantastic vacation suitable for every age.
Grandparents in the Park
They traveled all the way to Walt Disney World Resort to spend time with their children and grandchildren, so if the grandparents in your family want in on the theme park action, welcome their enthusiasm and let them purchase tickets, but plan for the imminent heat stress and exhaustion that will come with the territory. First, take breaks that don’t feel like breaks. When the rest of the family is on an attraction-hopping tear, suggest the following shaded, little-to-no-wait options for the older folks in your party to help conserve their energy and keep them from crashing:
- Liberty Square River Boat
- It’s a small world
- The Walt Disney World Railroad
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover
- Carousel of Progress
- Mickey’s Philharmagic
- The Hall of Presidents
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Muppetvision 3D
- Beauty and the Beast Live Onstage
- Festival of the Lion King
- Finding Nemo The Musical
- Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- It’s Tough To Be A Bug
- Living With the Land
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- O Canada!
- Impressions de France
- The American Adventure
- Reflections of China
- The Gran Fiesta Tour
- Spaceship Earth
Leave them With An Itinerary!
My grandparents have come on multiple Disney vacations with the rest of my family. When I was younger, I remember them walking through the parks with us and, although they had to stop a lot, they were able to keep up and have a great time by taking it slow and experiencing some of the great films Walt Disney World has to offer! Recently though, my grandparents have opted to join in on the week-long Florida vacations…minus the theme parks. On the second day of my most recent trip, my grandmother made the cringe-worthy proclamation that she was bored at Walt Disney World! I guess I would be too if all I did was spend my whole day on a hotel room balcony… but there was NO WAY that was going to continue under my watch, so I gave them the following adventures to seek out that kept them fully immersed in the Disney magic without all of the walking involved with the parks.
TIP: All of the below options are completely free of charge!
- Take a boat ride at Disney Springs! The ferry boats that run along the Sassagoula River connect Disney Springs to the Port Orleans Resorts. Have the grandparents take the complimentary, 20 minute ride to the resort that will greet them with beautiful views of Disney Springs, active golfers, the Treehouse Villas, and Saratoga Springs! The Riverside Mill Food Court at Port Orleans Riverside is a great, air conditioned spot for lunch!
- Listen to a live orchestra! Did you know that a live orchestra plays in the grandiose lobby of the famed Disney’s Grand Floridian every day? Even guests not staying at the resort are welcome to sit on the comfy chairs in that gorgeous lobby and listen to the orchestra play tunes ranging in style from classic jazz…to classic Disney! I like to get a cocktail from the nearby pool bar and bring it inside to enjoy during the show- and now my grandfather does too!
- Watch the fireworks! Just because they didn’t purchase park tickets doesn’t mean they have to miss out on those famous Disney fireworks! The beach at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is the perfect spot for watching Happily Ever After outside of the Magic Kingdom! Pull up a beach chair or towel and get ready to experience the show with none of the Main Street USA crowds, and none of the standing! In my opinion, this is the best spot to watch Happily Ever After regardless of age!
- Sail around Crescent Lake! The grandparents can take a lovely boat ride that tours the Crescent Lake Resorts. With stops at Disney’s Boardwalk, Yacht and Beach Clubs, Swan and Dolphin, there are plenty of chances to disembark and explore the deluxe resorts that would otherwise require a long walk to experience! There is a bakery at the Boardwalk, great shopping at the Swan and Dolphin…and some very tasty ice cream at Beaches and Cream (Beach Club)!
So, now that you’ve got all of the info, do you think you’ll invite the grandparents along on your family’s Walt Disney World Resort vacation? What would your parents/grandparents enjoy most on the list? Let us know in the comments!
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!